Welcome to the first installment of my GuySpy blog! Happy New Year!
So. 2012. Wow! It’s here. I’ve grown up, as we all have, hearing about 12/21/12. Some say it’s the end of the world. Judgment Day. Some say that it represents a shift, perhaps back to being more connected to, and in balance with, nature. Not sure what to think, but I do know that we live in very interesting times.
This year also carries with it a milestone in my life, turning 50 (in October)! What does that look like? I am a product of my generation. What I associate with being 50 is attached to my grandparents, who were in their fifties and sixties when I was growing up. The “elders.” Now that I’m coming up to the half-century mark, I’m realizing that I’m having to reprogram myself and my perception of things to better reflect what being middle age really means to me today, not what it meant to me way back when.
Can I just tell you that the term “middle age” sounds medieval to me. Like being that age is so old it’s medieval! The reality is that those of us who are essentially at the mid-point of our lives are redefining what being there is all about. That comes with a bunch of work. Deprogramming our conditioned belief of what being middle age is about. Also, how do we keep the aging process moving as slowly as possible and still embrace it? After all, if you’re fortunate enough to live 50 years (or more), you should be able to enjoy all that it affords you, right? One issue that does arise, you’re body starts to fuck with you!
I’ve been consistently working out most of my life. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had to change how I work my body to better manage the physical issues and challenges that have come into play, especially over the last couple of years. Yeah, I get it; my body is growing older—fine. Motivationally, I’m more challenged, but I continue to do the work because I know that it benefits me in many ways. The goals that I had set for myself in the past, I’ve realized. Now I have new goals and I’m way more mindful to listen to my body. Makes a huge and positive impact on how I work out.
In addition to working on my physical health and well being, I’ve been in therapy over the past 19 years to work on the other stuff, my mental and emotional health. Thank God! I can’t imagine processing through my life without the guidance of my therapist, Kathy Conaty. The work never ends. It changes, but it never ends. One great thing about having an ongoing relationship with a therapist is that I always have a safe place to go if and when I need it. Some periods I may not need to go there that often, other periods I may find the necessity to go there on a more regular basis. It changes as my life changes.
If you’ll indulge me for a bit, here’s what Kathy had to say about the process of aging. Yes, I’m going to “share.”
“The aging process is a tricky little bugger. If you’ve had a tendency to be hypercritical of yourself, your looks, hair, body, profession; watch out, as all of that becomes paramount as you age. The up side is that if you are ‘doing the work’ and are conscious of your thoughts and how you process your emotions about the aging process, it can look and be very powerful. In the power of acceptance you appear young and light-hearted. I think that is where the phrase ‘young at heart’ comes from. If your heart is healed then that’s what the world experiences, not a few wrinkles or a sagging tummy.“
Have I been hypercritical of myself, my looks, hair, body? Yep. Honestly, who hasn’t at one point or the other? That critical voice is alive and well in everyone, and it doesn’t discriminate. How many gorgeous, successful models have we heard say, “Well, I never considered myself a beauty”?
Speaking of “perfect hair,” when I was in my twenties I was so obsessed with my hair that I would spend at least an hour making sure that it was on point from every angle before I left the house. I had enough mirrors to achieve this task. Yes, an hour of my life, you know, the same life that’s now approaching the 50 mark! Thankfully, I’ve gotten to know my critical voice over the years and I’ve learned how to manage it more effectively. I’m happy to say that my hair-grooming ritual is now down to minutes instead of an hour! I still check to make sure it looks groomed, but then I move on and live.
The critical voice is a bitch, as Kathy always tells me, and if you don’t get a grip on it before you get older, it’ll run amuck! It’ll try to take away all the good you feel in the moment, just because. What an asshole!
To be continued…
If you want to check out Kathy Conaty, you can visit her page here: http://m.therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/prof_detail.php?profid=68427&sid=1325298231.4456_10163&city=Santa+Monica&county=Los+Angeles&state=CA&s=N
OR you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.